Arts

Saltbox Seafood Joint, surviving the coronavirus

14 9781469653532Can any of North Carolina’s great roadside eateries and local joints survive the coronavirus?

I have my doubts. So does UNC-Press. It has put the release of an updated and revised edition of my book, “North Carolina Roadside Eateries,” originally published in 2016, on hold indefinitely. We just do not know which of the more than 100 restaurants in the book will be in business when and if normal times returns. Nor do we know what the roadside restaurant business will be like in North Carolina after the worst of the coronavirus is over.

Will we be able to explore places where locals gather for good food along North Carolina’s highways?

In general, the forecast is not good. But there are bright spots. For instance Wilber’s, the legendary barbecue restaurant in Goldsboro, closed in March 2019 and was therefore not included in the revised “Roadside Eateries.” Last month Wilber’s reopened, at first only for curbside pickup. Thus, if the revised “Roadside Eateries” is ever published, Wilber’s will be in it.

There is more good news. Saltbox Seafood Joint in Durham, one of the places covered in the original “Roadside Eateries,” got an expanded description in the now postponed revised edition.

It is the sort of joint that can make it through the pandemic. Because it is thriving, it might give a clue about what kinds of locally owned eateries and joints will be available to give us the experiences that “Roadside Eateries” celebrated.

Here is some of what my editors and I wrote for the revised “Roadside Eateries.”

Since the last edition of “Roadside Eateries,” Saltbox chef Ricky Moore has been just a little busy. Though he’s a busy man, don’t worry — he’s still at it, cooking incredible food for lucky locals.
Now, Ricky’s success isn’t the least surprising. He’s been in the food business all his life. He grew up catching and cooking fish in eastern North Carolina. He cooked during his seven years in the Army, studied at the Culinary Institute of America and worked at the fine Glasshalfull restaurant in Carrboro and as the opening executive chef at Giorgio’s in Cary.

Moore explained to me that it’s not easy or cheap to get the best fish. He has to take into account that “the value is in the quality of fresh product we provide. Good, fresh seafood is not cheap, and the North Carolina fishermen deserve to get top dollar for their catch.”

Hush-Honeys are Ricky’s version of the hushpuppy. They’re a little salty, a little spicy and a little sweet. They’re the perfect complement to the best seafood you’re liable to find anywhere, let alone in the middle of the Tar Heel State.

Even if you are not able to visit Saltbox Seafood Joint for its mostly take out service, you can learn some of its secrets in a new cookbook published by UNC Press, “Saltbox Seafood Joint
Cookbook.” Chef Ricky Moore tells his life story. He shares 60 favorite recipes and his wisdom about selecting, preparing, cooking, and serving North Carolina seafood. That includes how to pan-fry and deep-fry, grill and smoke, and prepare soups, chowders, stews and Moore’s special way of preparing grits and his popular Hush-Honeys.

North Carolina’s cultural icon David Cecelski is the author of “A Historian’s Coast: Adventures into the Tidewater Past” and numerous other books and essays about our state’s coastal region. He gushes in his praise, “Chef Ricky Moore’s new cookbook is out and I think he’s written the finest seafood cookbook you’ve ever seen and probably ever will see if you’re like me and love the flavors of the North Carolina coast.”

To learn how one restaurant owner is surviving the pandemic, visit Chef Ricky at the Saltbox as soon as you can. Until then, join Cecelski and me to celebrating Chef Ricky Moore’s success and enjoy trying the recipes in “Saltbox Seafood Joint Cookbook.”

Cape Fear Regional Theatre offers after-school program

13 kyle head p6rNTdAPbuk unsplashThe Cape Fear Regional Theatre presents its new EduTAINMENT: After School Program that will run from Monday, Aug. 24, to Friday, Sept. 25, from 2:30–6:30 p.m. or 3:30–6:30 p.m. for kids ages 8-13.

“Once we had to close down for COVID-19, we were trying to figure out how can we still be (part) of the community and (provide) the programming that they are used to getting from us,” said Ashley Owen, marketing director and education associate of Cape Fear Regional Theatre. “At the time we started our virtual EduTAINMENT classes — those were online classes taught by myself and our education director, Marc de la Concha.”
Owen added that the theater offered supplemental classes that provided elementary and middle-school kids a safe, fun place to learn and engage with their peers over the course of the day.

“Once Cumberland County Schools announced they were going to do the first five weeks of school virtual, all summer, we were coming up with all these different plans of what we could do,” said Owen. “Because we were doing our summer camps, we found that kids were missing the interpersonal connection with other kids their age because they have been at home for the last several months with their siblings or just with their families.”

The Cape Fear Regional Theatre came up with the perfect program idea. “So we decided that an in-person after-school program would be really great and it would be a great way for parents to be able to drop their kids off somewhere (where parents) know they are safe, having fun and learning. And parents can get a little bit of time back in their day if they are working from home,” said Owen.

“The groups are limited to no more than 12 kids, and they will social distance, wash their hands and wear face masks and face shields.”
Owen added that the 8- to 9-year-old group will do a play called “Not-So-Grimm Tales” while also learning about the different variations of the fairy tales. The older kids will do an adaptation of a book.

The theater will also offer Virtual EduTAINMENT online classes. “We are going to bring that original program back, and it will be once a week on Thursdays from 12:30-1:15 p.m.,” said Owen. “It will be for K-5 students and will take place from Aug. 27 through Sept. 24. The cost is $40 for the semester.”

The cost of the EduTAINMENT After School program is $150 per week from 3:30–6:30 p.m., or $175 per week from 2:30–6:30 p.m. Students must register for all five weeks of the program.

“We have a great reputation, and we wanted to provide a safe place for parents to send their kids,” said Owen. “This is just another way for us to reach out and give back to the community.”
For additional information, call 910-323-4234.

 

How North Carolina Bookwatch beat the coronavirus and got better doing it

17 15403707 192759641189073 90141381049863955 oFor more than 20 years UNC TV's "North Carolina Bookwatch" has broadcast great conversations with North Carolina-connected authors.

An important part of the program's makeup has always been the warm and open spirit that authors bring into the television studio. Through the magic of broadcast television, their informative and entertaining conversations have made their ways into the living rooms and dens of many North Carolinians. It is one of the longest running locally produced UNC-TV programs.

At the beginning of this year, plans were under way to produce some programs at bookstores and college campuses, similar to the successful production of three programs at Isothermal Community College late last year. "Bookwatch" was also lining up authors and UNC-TV studio times for production of a new series.

Then came the virus. Bookstores closed. So did college campuses. UNC-TV's studios and offices shut down completely, leaving its enormous facility an empty cavern.

It looked like a lost season for "Bookwatch." Then the program’s producer, Katy Loebrich, suggested a trial of the distance-connecting program Zoom to see if it could be suitable for regular broadcast. David Zucchino, author of “Wilmington’s Lie,” agreed to be a guinea pig. From her home, Katy connected to me in my house and to David in his den.

The result was not perfect, a little patchy, but encouraging. Then, thanks to Katy's editing, the program was more than a successful experiment. It passed muster and was aired last month. That success let us to try Zoom with Sue Monk Kidd, author of “The Book of Longings.” That program will be broadcast next month.

We found that we were able to produce the program without being in face-to-face direct contact with our guests. Subsequently, we have produced programs with author Lee Smith, who was spending the summer in Maine.

One of our prospective authors, Devi Lascar, author of “The Atlas of Reds and Blues,” grew up in Chapel Hill but now lives in California. With the new distance capability, we were able to interview her from her home thousands of miles away, an interview that might not have happened otherwise.

From her home in Cornelius, former Charlotte Observer reporter Pam Kelly talked about her book “Money Rock: A Family’s Story of Cocaine, Race, and Ambition in the New South.”

Other authors who might have been too busy to make their way to the UNC-TV studios have given us interviews because they did not have to leave their homes or travel to the studio.

For instance, William Darity Jr. and his wife Kirsten Mullen, authors of “From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century,” sat down in their living room and talked to us about their recent work on reparations.

We are planning interviews with Kathy Reichs, who will be talking to us from Charlotte about “A Conspiracy of Bones.” Daniel Pierce, author of “Tar Heel Lightnin’: How Secret Stills and Fast Cars Made North Carolina the Moonshine Capital of the World,” will be able to save a seven-hour round trip from his home in Asheville by doing his interview with Zoom or Skype.

Some authors, such as Allan Gurganus, Jodi Magness and Jill McCorkle, came to specially adapted, newly reopened studios after being assured that they would be in a separate room from the host, reducing the risk that might have been involved in communication across the same table.

As bad as the coronavirus is, by adapting to it, "North Carolina Bookwatch" has made improvements that will be a permanent benefit for viewers and the authors who are the stars of the program.

How to foster a love of music in children

foster musicMusic enriches people's lives in myriad ways. Age is of no consideration when it comes to benefitting from and appreciating music, but it seems that young people in particular have a lot to gain from music education.

According to the New England Board of Higher Education, various studies have found that consistent music education can improve vocabulary and reading comprehension skills.

In addition, the National Association for Music Education says that research has found a significant relationship between arts participation at school and academic success.

Parents who want their children to reap the benefits of being involved with music can try the following strategies aimed at fostering a love of music in young people.

Turn the television off and turn music on. Exposing youngsters to music is one of the simplest and most effective ways to get them to embrace it.

For example, in lieu of turning on the television while preparing meals, parents can play music instead.

Let youngsters pick their own songs, or mix it up by including some of mom and dad's favorites as well. Such exposure can be incredibly valuable for youngsters. In fact, a 2016 study from researchers at the University of Southern California found that musical experiences in childhood accelerate brain development. Music is especially effective at helping children in language acquisition and reading.

Another way to build kids' enthusiasm for music is to replay some of their favorite songs. While mom and dad may cringe at the prospect of hearing "Baby Shark" several times in a row, they should take note of how enthusiastic their kids become when hearing a favorite song. That enthusiasm can benefit their language skills as they listen closely to the lyrics in an effort to memorize the words. Youngsters may not be so receptive if they don't like what they're hearing.

Dance to music. Kids are bundles of energy, and dancing is a fun way for them to expend some of that energy. Dancing also provides a great reason to play music. Physical activity set to music can help kids burn off some extra energy as they develop their brains, making dance sessions a win-win for both parents and children.

Embrace opportunities to see live music. Kids are often captivated by seeing musicians perform in person. When possible, take youngsters to concerts, local music festivals and/or restaurants that showcase local musicians. Such excursions may prompt youngsters to want to learn how to play, which can provide a host of additional benefits, even for especially young children.

In fact, a 1996 study published in Nature found that first grade students who took part in music classes during art study programs experienced marked improvement in reading and math proficiency.

Music enriches people's lives in various ways, and exposure to music at a young age can be especially valuable to children.

Opportunities in the arts

14 N1908P39002CWhile art is good for humanity in general and can have positive impacts across a person’s lifespan, it can be especially beneficial in how children develop. A report by Americans for the Arts states that young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, participate in a math and science fair or win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate. And honestly, whether it is dance, drawing, writing creating, sculpting, or you name it — art is fun. However, engaging in art during a pandemic looks and feels different than art-related events did pre-COVID. Check out some of the upcoming opportunities to support youth in the arts — and keep your creative juices flowing, too.

Sunday, Aug. 9, from 7-8:30 p.m., join the community for a virtual fundraising event. This event is different because it is by kids and for kids. Tune-in to Facebook on the LeClair’s General Store page for a variety show with individual performances as kids entertain from their homes — separately but together. The event also includes an online auction with one-of-a-kind artworks created by local youth throughout the community.

The goal of the event is to make local arts organizations accessible to all youth regardless of race, beliefs, disability or economic status. The event benefits the following organizations and their youth scholarship funds: Cape Fear Regional Theatre, The Gilbert Theater, Carolina Performing Arts Studio and Temple Theatre. Search “Kids With Hearts For The Arts! A Virtual Fundraising Event!” on Facebook for more information.

Gilbert Theater rolls out its adult theater education series starting Saturday, Aug. 15, with a session titled “Singing with Sarah.” Directed by education director at the Gilbert and voice teacher Sarah Chapman, the event offers a short introduction to singing for the stage and preparing for auditions as well as some fun singy-songy exercises. The class runs from 10 a.m.-noon.

The second session in the four-part series is titled “Improvisation with Gage” and runs from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Aug. 22. Instructor Gage Long will help attendees not only better understand improv but help them get more comfortable and proficient with it, too.

Saturday, Sept. 12, the “Stage Makeup/Special Effects” session offers a look at the basics of stage makeup, in addition to special effects like wounds and age — and perhaps even a space alien. The class runs from noon-2 p.m.

The session “Intermediate Acting Techniques” brings instructor Justin Toyer’s talents to the forefront. He’ll outline basic acting techniques, audition preparation, memorization techniques and how to connect with your character emotionally. The class is from 10 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Sept. 5.

Find out more about these and other opportunities at Gilbert Theater at http://gilberttheater.com/education.php.

Latest Articles

  • Outdoor activities offer fall fun
  • Peace in a storm
  • 'Mignonnes' is French for Crap! There's nothing cute about 'Cuties'
  • Kindred Ministries supports Passport Series at CFRT
  • Split court ruling permits some felons to vote
  • Local museums reopen

 

Login/Subscribe